Resolver's guide to complaints about flooding
29/05/2018 This weekend saw some pretty dramatic – and extreme – weather across the country, as we switched from scorching sunshine to storm clouds and lightning lighting up the sky.
For many people though, the storms brought chaos and flooding, with damage to property, cars and possessions being reported countrywide.
If you’ve been affected by a flood, it can be really distressing – and many people feel unsure where to turn. This can be particularly bad if you’ve had to leave your property or it isn’t habitable.
First things first, here’s a bit of reassurance. Insurance companies are actually really good at swinging in to action when there’s a flood. They’ll have their people on the ground – the loss adjusters – out in areas affected by flooding really quickly. Loss adjusters are there to help assess what needs to be done as a priority, along with the subsequent repairs and claim issues that arise as a result.
If you need to make a claim speak to your insurer as soon as possible – they’ll tell you what will happen next. They can even help you find (and fund) temporary accommodation if your home needs serious work.
The biggest problem with flood complaints is the time it can take to sort things out. If your property has been structurally damaged, it can take a long time – on rare occasions years - before the property is habitable. During that time, you may find yourself in alternative accommodation for a prolonged period.
Resolver also sees complaints about the contractors the insurer uses to sort out flood damage, from loss adjusters to builders and specialist tradespeople. Don’t forget, your contract is with the insurance company, so if you’re unhappy with a contractor, speak to the insurer.
Here's how to get started:
- Call your insurance company to log your claim and get as much advice from them as you can. Remember to make a note of when you called and who you spoke to.
- Keep a record of any extra spending, including hotel bills and emergency repair works as this may be covered by your policy too. Make sure to keep them in a safe place with your insurance documents.
- Don’t authorise people to carry out repairs without speaking to the insurer first. You might not be covered if your chosen contractor is more expensive than the insurer’s choice.
- Take photos and video of the damage that has been done, list all the damage to your house and belongings and even keep samples of things such as carpets to prove the quality of furnishings.
The most important thing to remember is to keep informed. Flooding claims can be complex and may take a while to resolve fully. So, speak to the insurer, get them to explain to you what they’re doing, timescales and if your property needs to be ‘future proofed’ to prevent problems happening again.
If you’re unhappy with the way your complaint has been handled, then Resolver can help you make a complaint for free. And if the insurance company doesn’t sort things out, we’ll pass your complaint to the free Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) who have the power to tell the insurer to make things right if they agree with your complaint.